Sorry for the lack of updates guys! The cell signal in Maine is so spotty that it’s hard for me to post anything, even in towns! I have a ton of videos and photos to post, as well as some blogs that will be updated after I get home. Our plan at this point is to summit on 9-11, Nokey’s birthday. We are taking our time and enter the 100-mile wilderness this afternoon. Thanks to everyone for their support and I’ll see you all very soon!
Walking on Mt. Washington (Headphone users – there’s a lot of wind in this video, turn down the sound!)
Day 135 & 136
We decided that slackpacking sounded like a good idea since we wanted to make up miles from yesterday. We got up early and were on the trail at 8 am to hike up Kinsman Notch. The beginning of the trail wasn’t to hard and we immediately started our hike with Kindle Ninja. We had an uphill, but it seemed more gentle than yesterday so we were feeling good. Turns out we were making not as good of time as we felt like we were! It felt like we did 3 mph and it was really just under 2. We made it to Wolf Peak and saw only one partial view on the way up. We crossed through a lot of mud an boggy areas, which was surprising given the elevation. We passed a pond and the climbed up another mountain – South Kinsman. The mountain was incredible steep and there was quite a bit of hand-over-hand climbing and it went on a little too long for me! We got to the top and had no view, climbed the North peak, and then had to come down steeply. After getting down, we had to cross a brook that was raging! It was thigh-high, but our feet were already wet so it was no big deal. From here, it was a longer walk than I needed to the trailhead. We then had a 1-mile walk on a bike path that was paved. We got a shuttle back to Lincoln and devoured entire pizzas after a long 17-mile day in The Whites.
We zeroed the next day after a long, hot night at the hostel. Nearly 30 people were crammed into this place and there were bodies everywhere. I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a car so we grabbed breakfast with Lighthouse and then made the call to stay another night. We did some work-for-stay at the hostel and got some amazing trail magic – a man let us go to his condo and use the hot tub and saunas. It was a relaxing thing to do and really helped our sore muscles. The photo on the blog is from the lake by Lonesome Lake Hut.
We planned to get up early today, but mother nature had other plans! At 6 a.m. another wicked thunderstorm blew through with lightening so close it made your hair stand up. It continued raining until 7:30 and we had our breakfast and waited for the skies to clear. We didn’t leave until 9:30, when we thought the skies were clear enough, for Mt. Moosilauke. I was nervous as we began the climb as the Whites have always been so intimidating to me. We began initially too fast and immediately slowed our pace so we didn’t burn out. We took a 5-minute break twice on the way up, the trail never getting any less steep, and the rocks being slick the entire time. We made it to the top at noon on the dot and took our photos of th sign. We had no view due to the storms and cloud cover. As soon as we started “down” it began raining – a mist at first followed by heavier rain. We had to walk 1.9 miles to the shelter and in the rain on the rocks it took an entire hour. The trail was muddy and slick. We noticed a sign telling us to seek an alternate route in the rain, but we are experienced thru hikers and ignored it. We got to the shelter in time for the rain to stop. We put on dry clothes as it was about 50 degrees. I cooked a hot lunch and we sat until 2:45 before we decided to go down and go to Chet’s Place in Lincoln for warm showers and dry sleeping conditions. The next 1.6 miles were NO JOKE! We literally came straight down the side of the mountain next to a roaring cascade on wet wooden steps drilled into the side of the rocks. It took us two hours to traverse the trail, which at this point was a river in the downpour. Several people were actually still going up the mountain in the rain and told us we were insane for coming down. We had to cross two raging brooks, both of which were knee-deep, near the bottom. When we finally reached the bottom at 5 pm, we saw a sign warning us of the dangerous nature of the trail and we laughed as that’s all you can do. We finally hitched a ride in after about 40 minutes of waiting in the men’s room as to avoid hypothermia! We got to Chet’s with hot coffee in hand and immediately took showers. We got to see Secrets, Shenanigans, and Dirty Girl along with Trekking Pole when we showed up. We ran down to the laundromat and resupplied before getting back at 8:45 and crashing on the floor as there was no more bunk space. The photo today is me in the pouring rain at the ‘dangerous trail’ sign at the bottom of Moosilauke.
On top Smarts Mountain fire tower.
It was so nice to sleep next to the brook last night that it was tough to leave it this morning! The sky was overcast and almost too dark for my sunglasses, but we had some climbing to do! The climb up Mt Cube promised to be rough and man was it! It seemed like we just went up and up! We stopped to take in the view before realizing that we still had almost one more mile to climb – sneaky hidden peaks and false summits! When we got to the top we had an amazing view below us as we were actually up above the clouds. We now had a long 3.3-mile downhill to the next road. Before we even left the summit it started to drizzle and man was it cold! It really felt like late fall up there. We worked our way down and, at the road, we ran into Mom (Tank’s mom who we hadn’t seen since Pawling, Ny). She gave us an orange soda and we talked to her for a bit before staring our next section of trail up to the Ore Hill campsite. This part had some unexpected steep climbs, but all in all wasn’t too bad. The sky cleared up and the sun came out which normally would be great, but we did a lot of walking through bogs and the mosquitoes were out in full force. We had one final gentle uphill before coming down to the next crossing. We passed a group of nearly 40 kids dayhiking Mt. Mist, so we should have known how easy the climb was going to be! When we first started the trail seemed steep, but when I saw Nokey standing and waiting for me about 40 minutes later he informed me we were at the top. I was waiting for the hill to get steep and had no idea we were so close! We then had a quick downhill to the next road. We got lost here several times as once again the DOC doesn’t know how to blaze trails – we couldn’t find the AT and then we had to cross a fast and deeper brook. We lost about 15 minutes screwing around thanks to The lack of blazes. Finally, we began the climb to the Jeffers Brook shelter. The guidebook said this nasty, dirty creek was the water source, but we found a better one nearly in front of the shelter. We were surprised to have the place all to ourselves and were there less than 40 minutes before a killer thunderstorm rolled through! The lightening and thunder were crazy and the rain kept up for a while, so we were happy to have the place to ourselves and it be dry.! Tomorrow we start The Whites by climbing Mt. Moosilauke and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared! The photo today is from Mt. Cube.
We woke up a little earlier this morning than usual and Nokey was feeling better than when he went to bed, so it had the makings to be good! We knew if we wanted to do big miles today it would be due to taking lots of breaks since we had tough terrain ahead though. We began our descent of Moose Mountain and it had a lot of little uphills to be going down! We reached the 3 mile mark pretty quickly and now the trail turned into Holts Ledge Trail. All of the trail in New Hampshire has another name due to the trail system already being used before the AT was developed. We walked straight up the mountain for about 50 minutes before coming to the ledges. There were pretty views in several spots, but we had a destination in mind: Bill Ackerly’s house for free ice cream and our lunches! We made the downhill quickly and arrived at Bill’s to find no one home. We had our lunch on the big porch and I bought the last soda in the cooler. Great Lakes and Tall Grass showed up with the section hikers from last night and a SOBO. We moved on for the next climb – Smarts Mountain. The trail going up was tough and we sweat like we’d never sweat before! When we reached the last half mile, it was a 600-foot climb up slick rocks with ladders and rebar drilled into the rock to climb! Thankfully, we reached the ridge a little quicker than I anticipated and we were treated to the nicest fire tower we’d seen in a long time. You could climb all the way up, so we did and checked out the views, including looking north to the whites! We unfortunately still needed to do four more miles from here to keep ourselves on a good pace, so we began the long downhill (which again had a suspicious amount of uphill). We were pretty beat when we reached the brook where we decided to stealth camp, so we grabbed a ton of water, cooked dinner, and were in bed by 8 pm. The photo today is looking south from the fire tower on Smarts Mountain. There were five lakes visible from the top (3800 feet up).
We got up and had coffee with Toni this morning and Warren offered to give us a ride back down to the trail as he was going in to Hanover anyway this morning. We ran into several hikers this morning, including Connect 4 who we hadn’t seen since Shenandoah! We left town around 11 am after a serious lack of motivation and since Nokey was feeling under the weather still. We walked the road for a bit before turning back into the woods and climbing up to Velvet Rocks Shelter. The trail here was poorly blazed, if at all, and incredibly eroded and had many footpaths everywhere! We went up to the shelter and had read in the book there was another loop off the north end. Once again, it was not blazed and had many paths. It was a total waste of time and a pain. We found the AT again and then had a hell of a time finding our way for several hours as the same lack of maintenance and multiple footpath problem continued. We passed a cemetery and some empty trail magic before begin another climb where we decided to take a break. We sat for an hour in the calm pine forest and chatted with a local for a bit before heading on to the base of Moose Moutain. We filled up our water in the brook and talked with Zorro and Cheddah for a while before heading up the hill. New Hampshire doesn’t do switchbacks, so all our climbs have seemed so steep today. This one was no different! When we got to the south peak we saw some old plane wreckage from the 1940s and then had a slight downhill followed by yet another steep hill to Moose Mountain shelter. It was a rough walk with six extra pounds of water, but I was glad to have carried it up for cooking. Great Lakes and Tall Grass also made it in for the night. Tomorrow is full of steep climbs, but they promise views! I didn’t take any photos tofay as there weren’t any views.
We took a zero day today after getting up late. Nokey wasn’t feeling well – headache and backache with sinus pressure and a fever – so we decided it would be best if we stayed in Hanover. After talking to Warren, he said it would be fine if we stayed and even offered to take us to EMS in West Lebanon. We went to EMS and Hannaford for a resupply. We then became masters of the public transportation system and rode the bus all over town all day long, accomplishing many chores and getting Nokey’s backpack replaced at EMS. We got a ton of free stuff too – free Snickers at the outfitter, free bagel and cream cheese at the Bagel Basement, free giant pizza slice at Ramuntos, and free sandwiches at Dan and Whitts. We got all out stuff washed a second time and stayed well-fed all day. Definitely ready for the tough New Hampshire mountains tomorrow! The photo is of a painted piano at the general store. There are 50 of these all throughout the neighboring towns for the summer.
We woke up at Happy Hill Shelter to an overcast sky, but we were thankfully dry. We think it may have sprinkled a bit overnight, but were glad to see dry gear! We headed out early and ready to cross into state 13! We had fairly easy walking with a nice cool breeze the first 3.5 miles. The trail was nice and soft, covered in pine needles. After only an hour and 15 minutes, we came to Elm Street in Norwich to begin our road walk. We were dreading this, as paved roads are murder on our legs, but it wasn’t too bad! We had three trail magics on our way in to town and got to the bridge over the Connecticut River fairly quickly. Here, we passed into New Hampshire and up the hill to downtown Hanover and Dartmouth. We walked around downtown for a bit and headed straight for the Indian buffet where we ran into Golden, Trekking Pole, Lone Duck, and Dirty Girl all ready to eat! We filled up on food for over an hour before going to pick up our drop boxes at the outfitter. I was psyched to get new shoes, my last pair for the trip! We then called a trail angel who picked us up for showers and laundry. Her neighbor offered us his basement to sleep in for the night and we had a wonderful time with them and two other hikers – Great Lakes and her son Tall Grass. Warren and Toni stayed out on the porch and chatted with us for several hours, even giving us ice cream and beer. Warren mentioned we could zero if we’d like and Nokey is lstarting to feel under the weather, so we decided to make the call in the morning. The photo today is the state line on the bridge.